The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 4

    Burns

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 2

    Groped

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 9

    Groped